Stratford House of Blessing (SHOB) is a Stratford, Ontario food bank-but this nonprofit organization does so much more. In addition to providing emergency food supplies, it gives clothing, footwear, furniture and household items to those in need. It provides resources for children such as diapers, formula, fully stocked backpacks, healthy school snack packs, sports funding and even Christmas gifts. It also offers resources such as life skill courses, expectant mother services and other community agency referrals in an effort to improve the quality of life for all it serves.
Stratford House of Blessing was chosen to receive a one by oner grant from promotional products retailer 4imprintr. The organization purchased reusable, logo'd grocery bags for one of its many food drives. Local churches and other community groups distribute the bags and an attached list of needed items at area grocery stores. Supporters fill the bags and return them to House of Blessing where they can be distributed again. "Because the bags are reusable, they serve as a good reminder for people to bring them back," said Stratford House of Blessing Development Coordinator Lisa Stanley. "Even if [shoppers] can't fill the bag during the drive, they see it later on and return it-it's a win, win!" Stratford House of Blessing provided food to 6,687 people last year-2,339 of those were children. "The number of people we serve goes up considerably each year," said the organization's Executive Director Theresa McMurray. "It's projects like this grant that allow our organization to be so impactful. We really appreciate 4imprint and the support it's given us."